Atlantic Hockey and College Hockey America commissioner Robert DeGregorio has announced he will retire from both positions following the 2022-23 season.
DeGregorio officially notified Atlantic Hockey and College Hockey America leadership of his intention to step down during both leagues’ annual meetings prior to the American Hockey Coaches Association convention in Naples, Fla., last week.
“After more than 40 years in college athletics it is time for me to step away,” DeGregorio said in a statement. “Next season will be my 20th with Atlantic Hockey and 13th with the CHA and we’ve reached a point where the landscape of college hockey is changing rapidly. With that in mind, it is appropriate for both conferences to transition to new leadership as they address this new era in intercollegiate athletics.
“My time with the AHA and CHA has been one of the highlights of my career. We’ve accomplished much over the last two decades and I’m proud of the course we’ve steered for both conferences. I’m grateful for the collaboration and dedication our member institutions have shown over the years as we worked to establish and grow Atlantic Hockey and College Hockey America. I also want to thank the coaches, administrators, officials, staff and student-athletes who have been a part of this journey. I’ve enjoyed my time as your commissioner.”
The only commissioner in Atlantic Hockey history, DeGregorio has overseen multiple membership changes throughout the AHA’s history that saw its membership grow from nine to 12 members before settling at its 10-member roster that will open the 2022-23 season. Earlier this month, DeGregorio and Atlantic Hockey announced the conference will return to 11 members in 2023-24 when former member Robert Morris returns to the league.
The Winthrop, Mass., native also steered the AHA through the COVID-related shutdown of the 2019-20 season and the subsequent abbreviated 2020-21 campaign.
DeGregorio orchestrated the moving of the Atlantic Hockey postseason to a neutral-site format, negotiating with the city of Rochester, N.Y., and the Blue Cross Arena to make the BCA the home of the semifinals and final, where it remained from 2007 to 2018. DeGregorio then worked with Buffalo’s HarborCenter administration to keep the Atlantic Hockey tournament in western New York beginning in 2019 and executed the move of the event to Utica’s Adirondack Bank Center in 2022.
“Bob has been the rock of Atlantic Hockey for nearly 20 solid years resulting in some exciting hockey memories for all of our programs,” Atlantic Hockey board chairman and Air Force associate athletics director George Nelson said. “His leadership and passion for the sport of hockey has given us a great recipe for success and he has us on a positive trajectory for the future. On behalf of our membership, thank you Commish for all you’ve done for Atlantic Hockey.”
DeGregorio’s CHA tenure began on Sept. 9, 2010. Over the last 12 seasons, he has overseen the addition of current CHA members Lindenwood, Penn State and RIT and earlier this year managed the return of former member Robert Morris to the conference for the 2023-24 season. Under his watch, CHA teams reached two women’s Frozen Fours while four CHA players earned All-America honors and six were tabbed Patty Kazmaier Award top-10 finalists. CHA players have also captured the last two USCHO.com national rookie of the year awards.
“College Hockey America has grown and improved on and off the ice under Bob’s leadership,” CHA board chairman and Syracuse senior associate athletics director Jamie Mullin said. “His guidance as we managed membership changes, the challenges of the recent COVID-impacted seasons and other issues has put the conference in a position to chart a positive future course. We look forward to celebrating his final season with the CHA and I want to wish him well as he moves to the next chapter in his life.”
A national search for DeGregorio’s replacement will begin in the coming weeks.